As parents going through divorce, your divorce does not just concern you and your co-parent. It also concerns your child. Though children have no ultimate say in whether or not you and your partner split up, they should not be an afterthought, either.
Your first hurdle will be deciding how you want to break the news of the divorce. This can set the tone for the rest of the split. Is there a right way to do it? Are there any mistakes to avoid?
No “right way” to do it
Psychology Today has several tips for breaking news of divorce. First, there is no “right way”. Rather, there is no way to break the news without hurting your child in some form. You are upending everything they know to be stable and reliable in their lives. This will hurt and do damage no matter how you try to word it.
The last thing you want to do is lie in an attempt to soften the blow, though. Your children will learn the truth sooner or later. Being lied to will often hurt them even worse in the long run.
Be upfront and to the point
Instead, explain what a divorce is concisely. Provide exact information about what they can expect in a future with divorced parents. Let them know what will change and what will stay the same. Reassure them that not everything will alter in an unrecognizable way. Fear of change and the unknown are often the biggest hurdles children face, after all.
It also helps to show that you and your co-parent can continue to work together even under duress. Finally, reassure your child that no matter what, you will continue to love and support them.